Project Phantom Ranch
Organized by: Matt Welch
My dad has Alzheimer's. A strong vibrant 88 year old, who is good physically, but has a mind that exists in his own little world. It sucks! I take care of him 48/7 with sometime help from a professional caregiver. 48/7 means I am not only taking care of his life, I have to take care of my own. Without me, he would be alone in some care home. I have devoted my life to make sure he feels love, support, and comfort. I truly feel for him because he is the last living person of his generation. My mom has been gone for more than 12 years, as well as his sister, all in-laws, and anyone he knew in his life. It has to be lonely, but luckily, the disease has blocked this loneliness in his mind. To him, everyone he sees is a friend and someone he knows, though that is not the case. I feel it is the will of the child to take care of their parents as they took care of us as children. I love this mission I am on and title it: Every day's an Adventure. There is also a song we sing in church called- Companions On the Journey. That is us. The Fundraiser- I will be hiking to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, in the dead of winter in sub-freezing temperatures to bring awareness about Alzheimer's. This hike will be Dec 14-18, 2015. Since I am challenging myself to this adventure, I decided I wanted to try and raise money as well. The Beneficiary- I hope to raise $5000 for the Arizona Alzheimer's Foundation. This organization is totally focused on Family caregivers, people taking care of a family member. They have no paid staff, only volunteers. They provide books and guides to any family caregiver that needs to learn about the disease. They also provide the fees needed to attend professional workshops offered for caregivers or if they need to pay someone for a few hours for them to attend a workshop or need respite care (a break). Another program I plan to help them initiate is to create a place where caregivers can learn about ways to use gardening in working with their clients. Ideally, have a plot in a Tucson Community Garden where any caregiver can bring their family member at anytime to garden or trim plants or pull weeds! Activities that will amuse many Alzheimer's patients for hours! I will be working with the Horticultural Therapist at Tucson Botanical Gardens to create the program and methodology that will work with Alzheimer's patients. Donations- I hate to ask outright for a donation without providing something in return so I have created a few items for your donation. For any donation over $10, I will send a matching pen and key-ring with a light. Any donation over $50, I will send the pen set, as well as a backpack/tote. For $100, this is the one that excites me. You get the above, as well as a t-shirt that has a "Project Phantom Ranch" design on the front, but on the back will be any name you want to honor. It could be your name or the name of the family member you are caregiving for or the name of your family that had died from the disease. There will be 4 of us on hike trek and each of us will be wearing the shirt during the hike in honor of all the names on the back. It will also serve as a way to get discussions going at camp or on the trail as people become more aware of Alzheimer's and its victims. We will cover our hike on social media as much as possible as there is very limited cell coverage at the Grand Canyon, and none down at the bottom. But, we will have two people hiking with us that are journalists and write about this trip in the months to come. My name is Matt Welch, and this is my mission and personal goal ! Your support financially is wonderful, your prayers are needed as well so we all make it out okay, and my dad is fine while I am gone for a week. My personal philosophy comes from two people I admire a great deal, Dr. Robert Schuller and Pastor Sheila Schuller. Together they say-"Tough times never last, tough people do...because the sun always rises because the Son rose for us!" Peace. Love. Bear Down.